State surplus may mean tax repealsPublished 9:55am Friday, December 13, 2013
As you may have heard, the Minnesota Management and Budget Office recently announced a budget surplus of over $1 billion. This announcement was based on the regular November economic forecast that gets done every year. Not only does it demonstrate the strength of Minnesota’s economy, but it also means every dollar of the multi-billion dollar school shift will now be paid off.
Now, this isn’t an absolutely final number. A new forecast comes out in February that will provide an even clearer picture of where we are financially. But it’s safe to say this announcement is very positive for our schools and for our businesses. The surplus was a result of both reduced spending and increased revenue. That revenue is only possible because our businesses are doing well and driving our economy forward. Thankfully, that puts us in a good position to address several business taxes that went into place last session. The farm equipment repair tax in particular was something I hoped we would be able to repeal during our special session last September. Unfortunately, the bill I co-authored failed to receive the necessary bipartisan support. I’m happy to say that our surplus means a repeal of the farm equipment repair tax, as well as the warehouse tax, is much more likely during the session that starts in February.
Over the next few months, I’m hopeful that our economy will continue to improve even further. As part of our 2013 budget, we increased spending in job creation by $100 million to make sure businesses had the tools they needed to succeed. I personally authored a bill to invest $30 million in the Minnesota Investment Fund to help offer low-interest loans and grants for businesses looking to expand or start up their operations. Those kinds of programs have been proven to help create new jobs and spur private sector investment.
When we return to the Legislature in February, I’m hopeful some of the investments in job creation will have helped improve the economy even more. This surplus is only a first step in the right direction, but I’m hopeful that we’ll continue to take those steps as we move forward towards the next session.